It’s been a while since one of these entries in my series of Philip K. Dick reviews, so let’s see what ground we’ve covered to date. Firat, we’ve looked at Dick’s early work, including the absolute ton of short stories he wrote in 1952 and his two earliest attempts at mainstream novels. Then we looked at his busy 1953, which included the important early novella The Cosmic Puppets, and the span of years from 1954 to 1955, when he started to shift to focusing on novels.
This led into his ill-fated attempt in the second half of the 1950s to try and break into mainstream non-genre fiction, with only Time Out of Joint providing a welcome reprieve from a conga line of astonishingly depressing novels as Dick’s marriage to Kleo Apostolides disintegrated and he shifted his affections to Anne Rubinstein, with whom he would have a tumultuous and sometimes abusive relationship.
After divorcing Kleo and marrying Anne, Dick would spend the early 1960s churning out more mainstream garbage before the classic The Man In the High Castle brought him sufficient critical acclaim and sales to shift back to science fiction. 1963 would find Dick resorting to amphetamines to keep up an astonishing pace of work, churning out novel after novel including outright odd material like The Game-Players of Titan and Now Wait For Last Year whilst simultaneously wrecking his marriage to Anne, including having her involuntarily committed to a mental hospital on the basis of Dick’s own paranoid delusions. 1964 would see him keep up this pace even in the face of his exile from the family home and his disintegration of his sense of reality – an experience he would fictionalise in The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, both his weirdest science fiction novel and his most terrifying one.